Ikea Knightley

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A term of endearment used by Mark Kermode about the actor Keira Knightley, suggested by listener Richard Clark in Spain in reference to her wooden (and hence, flat-pack-furniture like) performance in Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End. Clark had seen the film in Spanish - a language he did not understand - and wrote that "once Orlando and Ikea Knightley have been dubbed, they acted very well."

Mark subsequently adopted it - to the extent that he declared he would go to his grave angry for not coming up with it himself - and it became so ensconced in the popular lexicon that a journalist on BBC Look North accidentally used it while live on air discussing the film The Duchess. Simon Mayo himself did it in an interview with Jim Broadbent.

When Ikea was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in Atonement, Mark considered it to be akin to putting a piece of furniture up for an award. When Simon asked for suggestions for actors to appear in a movie nativity, one listener suggested that Ikea play the stable.

It was following Mark's mocking of the Golden Globe nomination that the Good Lady Professor Her Indoors pointed out to her husband that he had once dismissed Helena Period Drama in much the same way, giving her the nickname "Helena Cardboard Box" - only for that perception to change over the years as Period Drama branched out and excelled in a much wider variety of roles, from Frankenstein to Fight Club. The Good Lady said that the same thing could well happen to Ikea. Although Mark dismissed this, Knightley's very next film, The Edge Of Love, was to prove The Good Lady right. Mark thought that Knightley was "not bad" in the Dylan Thomas love quadrilateral story - and certainly opposite Sienna Miller Lite she proved she actually could act. This led to the formal dropping of the Ikea name forever. And in Knightley's next movie after that, The Duchess, she was "actually good."

Cumberbatch Encounter

The use of this in reference to Miss Knightley subsequently resulted in Mr Kermode being physically assaulted by Keira's fellow thesp Benedict Cumberbatch:

CUMBERBATCH: Keira Knightley's in [Atonement] as well, who is fantastic. Yeah. It's a very, very special film.

SIMON: Do you hear that Mark? Keira Knightley's fantastic in it.

MARK: I know. But y'know. Why bring that up when I'm here with somebody who's worked with her? Y'know. I'm sure she's lovely. She acts like a wardrobe, but, y'know...

CUMBERBATCH: Stop it. You're near enough for me to give you a dead arm. I'm really tempted.

SIMON: Give him a dead arm!

CUMBERBATCH: Shall I give him a dead arm?

SIMON: Give him a dead arm.



CUMBERBATCH: There you go.


However, Cumberbatch and Kermode recently made light of the episode on Cumberbatch's November 2014 appearance on the show to promote The Imitation Game.